Tito Ortiz made his Bellator MMA debut this evening (Sat., May 17, 2014), engaging in a "freak show fight" against Middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko on the Bellator 120 pay-per-view (PPV) main card.
And it was as sarcastically advertised at Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi. Only, the other way ... I think.
Ortiz -- who had not competed in almost two years and was in the midst of a three-fight losing skid -- appeared early that he would have trouble with the more technical Russian, who he dwarfed at the weigh-in and who struggled to add pounds to his 185-pound frame for the 205-pound showdown.
Not the case.
Even though he came out real rusty and slow, telegraphing his takedown attempts and eating several kicks to his suspect mid-section, Ortiz was able to close the distance midway through the opening frame and get "Storm" to the mat. From there, it was rather academic, as Ortiz angled for a side choke with little resistance from the Russian.
Ortiz simply out-muscled Shlemenko and refused to let him move, cinching in the choke tighter and tighter until his lights finally went out and referee John McCarthy peeled "Huntington Beach Bad Boy" off his unconscious opponent.
In his post-fight interview, Ortiz declared, "I'm back!" But with just two wins (Shlemenko, Ryan Bader) in his last 10 fights since 2006, it's probably time Ortiz, 39, hangs up his gloves once and for all on a high note. It's been a memorable run for the UFC Hall of Famer, but the sport -- and his mental toughness -- past him by more than five years ago.
Great win, but enough is enough.
Shlemenko, meanwhile, will likely continue his impressive Middleweight run once he shakes off the cob webs. He has not lost in the division since dropping a decision to Hector Lombard more than three years ago -- 13 straight victories -- and doesn't appear to be losing there anytime soon.
For complete Bellator 120: "Rampage vs. King Mo" results, including play-by-play coverage of the entire PPV main card, check out our live results thread right here.